Belmont Club

Recent Afghanistan news stories

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  • ‘We’re pinned down:’ 4 U.S. Marines die in Afghan ambush | McClatchy
    • GANJGAL, Afghanistan — We walked into a trap, a killing zone of relentless gunfire and rocket barrages from Afghan insurgents hidden in the mountainsides and in a fortress-like village where women and children were replenishing their ammunition.
    • Dashing from boulder to boulder, diving into trenches and ducking behind stone walls as the insurgents maneuvered to outflank us, we waited more than an hour for U.S. helicopters to arrive, despite earlier assurances that air cover would be five minutes away.

      U.S. commanders, citing new rules to avoid civilian casualties, rejected repeated calls to unleash artillery rounds at attackers dug into the slopes and tree lines — despite being told repeatedly that they weren’t near the village.

      “We are pinned down. We are running low on ammo. We have no air. We’ve lost today,” Marine Maj. Kevin Williams, 37, said through his translator to his Afghan counterpart, responding to the latter’s repeated demands for helicopters.

  • Negotiators shocked by special forces rescue raid on Taleban – Times Online
    • Stephen Farrell — who was in Afghanistan for The New York Times — was not harmed in the raid but his Afghan translator, Sultan Munadi, and a British soldier from the Special Forces Support Group were killed. The men were being held at a house in Kharudi in northern Afghanistan. Just after midnight on Tuesday US helicopters dropped British special forces and Afghan troops in the village. Taleban militants fled the house and a fierce battle ensued. At least one civilian and scores of militants were killed.
  • New Afghan war: Frontline correspondent says fight has morphed – but we still can’t afford to lose
    • Helmand, Afghanistan – The West is losing this war. This has been obvious for more than three years. Less obvious is that in 2009, we are down to the wire. Gen. Stanley McChrystal and others will soon recommend to President Obama the latest treatment for a dying patient.
    • Yet it seems certain the war will be lost if we do not significantly increase troops. While our enemies grow stronger, years will pass before Afghan forces can replace us. Enemies are gaining ground while we lose the goodwill of the people through disillusionment. In the mostly peaceful Ghor Province, for instance, development is scant and there are no Afghan soldiers.
    • The strongest indicator of progress will come in the form of cooperation from the people. In Iraq, especially in about mid-2007, I witnessed a tidal shift in cooperation from the civilians and largely from that was able to report that the surge was working, long before the statistics would support what might have appeared to be a wild claim.
    • The enemies here cannot defeat the United States, but they can dissolve the coalition. Some allies are ready to tap out, while others are learning that counterinsurgency is difficult. The Germans, for instance, are losing in their battle space. To avoid watching the coalition melt away, we must show progress before the end of 2010.

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